Like many Jacksonville criminal attorneys, I have an interest in the George Zimmerman murder trial. George Zimmerman claims that he was acting in self defense during this deadly shooting. It is a very interesting case. I have written articles about Martin and Zimmerman on this Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers website. I have also written articles on the Jacksonville Lawyers website. When I was reading articles on the internet, I came across a good analysis of the case. “ABC Chief Legal Affairs Anchor and Mediaite founder Dan Abrams appeared on The View Monday morning to discuss the Zimmerman defense’s confidence heading into the second half of the trial, arguing that Zimmerman would likely be acquitted based on conflicting witness testimony.” (Mediaite.com) Based on the article, it appears that Abrams did not always believe that Zimmerman would be found not guilty. Abrams stated:
“Now that the prosecution’s case against Zimmerman is in, as a legal matter, I just don’t see how a jury convicts him of second degree murder or even manslaughter in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. So what happened? How can an armed man who shot and killed an unarmed teen after being told by the police that he didn’t need to keep following him, likely be found not guilty of those crimes?”
Abrams reasoned that the state attorneys are “at a distinct legal disadvantage,” because “they have the burden to prove that Zimmerman did not ‘reasonably believe’ that the gunshot was ‘necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm’ to himself.” I am assuming that he came to that conclusion based on the Florida’s self defense law. The self defense law in Florida is:
“The defendant has the burden of presenting sufficient evidence that he acted in self-defense in order to be entitled to a jury instruction on the issue. But the presentation of such evidence does not change the elements of the offense at issue; rather, it merely requires the state to present evidence that establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.” Mosansky v. State, 33 So. 3d 756, 758 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010)
Abrams set forth Zimmerman’s story stating:
“[Zimmerman] spotted Martin, became suspicious, called police, was told he didn’t need to follow him, was only out of his car to give the authorities an address, was jumped and then pummeled by Martin and as he was being punched and having his head knocked into the ground, Martin went for Zimmerman’s firearm and Zimmerman shot him once in the chest.”
Abrams stated what many other Florida criminal defense attorneys have been stating, “even if jurors find parts of Zimmerman’s story fishy, that is not enough to convict.” The prosecutors are seeking a second degree murder conviction. The jury will also be instructed that they may convict Zimmerman of manslaughter instead. “To win a murder conviction, they have to show he had the intent to kill and did so with ‘depraved mind, hatred, malice, evil intent or ill will.’” All of the witnesses seem to agree that there was a fight, so this makes a conviction based on a “depraved mind, hatred, malice, evil intent or ill will” unlikely.
Manslaughter is a possibility, but I think that there is still a problem with that based on the reasonable doubt standard that the State of Florida must over come. Between Zimmerman’s injuries, the inconsistent testimony of some of the prosecution’s witnesses, and John Good’s testimony, I do not feel like the prosecution will fulfill its burden of proof. Abrams came to a similar conclusion in his article:
“The prosecution has the burden to prove the case and so if there is reasonable doubt, the defense wins. Good’s testimony in conjunction with Zimmerman’s injuries are likely enough to cast reasonable doubt on the key question, which is whether Zimmerman reasonably believed he needed to shoot Martin to prevent ‘great bodily injury.’”
You may find Abram’s story on ABC News.